Mandatory FDA Menu Labeling Delayed Until Next Year

3.14.2016

By Michael Kaiser

Chain Restaurant Menu Labeling to be implemented in 2017

As a result of language in the omnibus appropriations bill enacted December 18, 2015  FDA is delaying enforcement from December 1, 2016, to the date that is one year after it issues final guidance on menu labeling. It is unclear when the final guidance will be issues, but we expect it sometime later this year.  Restaurants of twenty or more locations will be required to list the nutritional information of all standard menu items when the rule is implemented. Alcohol is included in the labeling requirements.

WineAmerica has been following this issue for some time now, as alcohol is not exempt. The FDA was required to establish the rule under the nutrition labeling requirement contained within the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Alcohol, which originally was proposed to be exempted by the FDA, is now included in the labeling requirement for restaurants.

A restaurant that meets the parameters will have to list the calorie and nutrition information for all beer, wine and spirits listed on a menu. Mixed drinks not listed on a menu are exempted from the requirements, as are liquor bottles on display behind a bar. Restaurants have significant flexibility in choosing a basis for nutrient contents disclosures. This can include the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. The USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference includes the categories, “alcoholic beverage, wine, table, red,” “alcoholic beverage, wine, table, white,” among several other general categories for alcoholic beverages. The USDA will allow covered establishments to use these entries as the bases for their nutrient content disclosures for alcoholic beverages that are standard menu items.

The FDA will not be encroaching on the TTB’s regulation of the alcohol industry, and all of the nutrition labeling requirements will comply with TTB requirements. Alcohol producers will not be required to disclose the nutritional content of their products or conduct laboratory analyses of their products. The burden for disclosure is on the covered establishments (restaurants) and they will be allowed to use the accepted USDA measurements for caloric and other nutritional content.

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Questions? Contact Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs, mkaiser@wineamerica.org

WineAmerica is the national voice of the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations. As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.

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